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Stairway Lighting requirements (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Stair, Landing, Railing Code FAQs

  • CODES for STAIRS & RAILING, FAQs - CONTENTS: questions & answers about the Design & Build Specifications for Stairs, railings, guardrails, landings, treads, and steps based on model & actual building codes
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the design requirements and code specifications for building stairs, landings, railings, and guard railings.
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Stair, railing, guardrail, handrail, landing & platform building code & specification FAQs:

Questions & answers about stair and railing code & design specifications & relations to model building codes.

This article series lists all major building code specifications for stairs, railings, landings, and guardrails - information useful for constructing or inspecting indoor or outdoor stairs, railings, landings, & treads, and for evaluating stairways and railings for safety and proper construction.

We compare stair and railing code requirements for various model, national, state and local building codes and we include explicit text & specifications from those building codes. Page top sketch of stair dimensions courtesy Carson Dunlop Associates.



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Questions & Answers about Building Codes for Stairs & Railings, Stair Landings & Guardrails

Stairway Lighting requirements (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Here we provide frequently-asked questions and answers about stair & railing codes & build specifications. These questions and replies were posted originally at CODES for STAIRS & RAILINGS the home page for this topic.

[Click to enlarge any image]

In-depth stair design articles listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article provide detailed descriptions of each stair feature, building codes, photographs and sketches of defects and requirements. Text comparing key provisions of several building code sections on stairs and rails is given at the end of this document. We provide sketches and photographs of stair, railing, landing, and construction details and hazards

Question: Is the final stair rise from top thread to threshold of building considered a riser?

We have a back door onto a slab 4" patio. The door's threshold is ~20" above above grade. The slab is continous up to the house. Building a concrete stairway/flight to code will require 2 treads, to reach the threshhold.

Is the final rise from the top tread to the treshhold considered a riser, even though the stairway/flight has no such riser? To make the question more understandable, you build a stairway/flight and then position it against the house. If the elevation from the top tread to the threshhold considered a riser?

Also, is a footing required, even though the stairway/flight is on a 4" concrete slab? - dansbysa

Reply:

Dansbysa

As I read it, every vertical rise between stair treads is a "riser" - that is, every time a user has to lift a foot to the next level up, that's a riser. So what you call the "top tread" we call the next to last tread or step in that there is one more rise to climb to reach the finish floor height.

The requirement for a footing below stair stringers might be excused by your local code official if s/he accepts the stair bottom platform or 4" thick slab as adequate support against settlement of the stairway in the future.

Question: are rails needed on both sides of a basement stair open on only one side

(Oct 26, 2012) george pearson said:

I have a set of stairs that go down to basement and is open on both sides of stairway do I need 2 hand rails or will one be sufficient for code

Reply:

George: the answer depends on your local building codes and the width of your stairway. For example on a 36" wide stair you may be permitted to install handraillings (you'll also need stair guard railings or balusters) along the open side of the stair.

Question: how do I fix a banister connection that broke away from the wall

(Nov 29, 2012) pat said:

i have a cape with no beams to second story stairway conections please help me to fix cause keep breaking banister conection to wall in stairway

Reply:

Pat: the best solution is to move the bannister or handrailing support to a place on the wall where its screws can connect directly into a wall stud. Usually just connecting to drywall or plaster is a weak and unsafe connection.

If you needed to install a banister-to-wall connection where there was no nearby wood or other framing to which it could connect you'd need to either open the wall and insert a horizontal structural member between the nearest studs and located to accept the banister support, or you'd need to install wall anchors of a size and spacing that is rated to withstand the loads involved. The second choice sounds rather unlikely to me.

Question: Do I need a railing with just 4 steps

(Dec 11, 2012) Ed Sim said:

I have a sloped property and on the front I would like to put steps in the middle instead of climbing up the slope of the ground. if I have 4 steps to make it easier to walk up the slope must I have a railing even though you could step sideways and be on the ground level What is the height from the step to the ground if I build the steps on the top of the ground level that does not require a railing?

Reply:

Ed, most localities specify the requirement for handrails and guardrails based in part on the total height involved (typically 3 feet), some use the number of steps (typically 3 or more) but as there are falling hazards even at a single step I recommend installing railings and guardrails.

Question: intermediate stair stringer support requried for 36" wide treads?

(Mar 12, 2013) Jeremy said:

Is there a code for the studs (2x14) under the tread? On a 36" tread should there be a middle support in addition to the ones on the ends?

Reply:

If your stair stringers are deep notched and not secured along at least one side by a wall you should consider additional support.

See STAIR STRINGER DEFECTS

Question: how long can you go between supports for handrails on a temporary staircase

(Mar 19, 2013) mike said:

Is there a requirement in OSHA that states how long you can go between supports for a temporary staircase? Rialing supports that is.

Reply:

Mike I don't see an explicit answer to your question, most likely because the answer would depend on the components used for the supporting structure or supporting the railing and the strength and stiffness of the railing and guardrail itself. Because of the very wide range of possible situations codes for this problem usually say that the handrail or guardrail has to meet certain strength loads instead of specifying how it should be built.

See HANDRAILS & HANDRAILINGS

Question: can a bench substitute for guardrails on the edge of a deck

(Mar 9, 2014) Mike C said:

Could outdoor deck bench seating along edge of deck pass code instead of placing railing on outer edge?

Reply:

Some inspectors pass that design provided the bench seating includes a continuous back of adequate height.

Question: what is the required railing size in Wisconsin?

(Mar 17, 2014) Anonymous said:

What is code for railing size in public buildings in wisconsin

Reply:

Anon, assuming you're asking about handrailing cross section and dimensions, in the article above (or by searching InspectApedia) you'll want to read Details about safe graspable and unsafe non-graspable handrailings found at GRASPABILITY of HANDRAILINGS

Using Kenosha WI code as a model, for 1 and 2 family dwellings, handrailings can be 2" diameter round or 2 7/8" rectangular maximum, and 2x4s etc are not allowed as handrails.

Question: is an outside stairway a "main stairway" for egress?

(Mar 19, 2014) Does an outside stairway qualify as a main stairway for egress? said:

I am putiing a spiral stairway in my home and removing the existing straight stairway with landing. The second floor is completely surrounded by a continuous balcony. I will be putting a straight stairway with a landing on the outside of the house similar to the type found in 2-story apartment complexes and motels. Do you think that would suffice to satisfy code requirements for egress?

Thank you,
Jared Gill

Reply:

I think so (personal opinion) but really as local codes vary you want to ask your local building department about local requirements. For example, the stairway may need to be covered or protected from weather (ice and snow). And of course there are lighting, railing and related requirements.

Question: sagging deflecting staircase risers - (he meant stringers)

(Apr 18, 2014) Rich O said:

My house in Westminster CO is just out of warranty and one of the staircase risers has started to visibly deflect (and squeak) when traversing the stairs. I've requested the builder take a look, in the meanwhile, is there a specific code I can refer to in order to ascertain if the stair was properly constructed? Thanks, Rich

So, used improper terminology below, believe I should have used "stringer" versus "riser", the entire 12' stringer (wood construction) is now deflecting as if a support has failed. Thanks again, Rich

Reply:

Yes a riser is the vertical board enclosing the space between horizontal walking surfaces, i.e. treads.
The stringer is the support for the stairs.

If a stringer is deflecting, depending on the amount, it may be damaged or may have been inadequate to begin with.

For safety, investigate and determine what repair or additional support is needed.

Because stringer notch depth for designs that actually notch the 2x12 or 2x14 framing lumber typically used can vary depending on stair design, codes do not specify explicit lumber dimensions. Instead codes typically specify the strength required of the ending design. One may need to increase the number of stringers accordingly.

For example the IRC specifies that stairs shall be designed to withstand a live load of 40 pounds - as with a building floor.
Individual stair treads shall be designed for the uniformly distributed liveload or a 300–pound concentrated load acting over an area of 4 square inches, whichever produces the greater stresses.

Before an inspection has been performed we don't know if the deflection of the stair stringer to which you refer is due to damage (rot for example) or a design inadequacy. But the initial focus must be on the detection of and response to any *immediate safety hazard* such as conditions that could permit a stair collapse, fall, or injury.

Here is a model building code citation for stair stringer support requirements for residential stairs
using the 2003 IRC.

R301.5 Live Load.

Minimum required live load for Stairs 40 psf. c.

c. Individual stair treads shall be designed for the uniformly distributed live load or a 300-pound concentrated load acting over an area of 4 square inches, whichever produces the greater stresses.

301.1.1 Alternative provisions.

As an alternative to the requirements in Section R301.1 the following standards are permitted subject to the limitations of this code and the limitations therein. Where engineered design is used in conjunction with these standards the design shall comply with the International Building Code.

1. American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM).

2. American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Standard for Cold-Formed Steel Framing—Prescriptive Method for One- and Two-family Dwellings (COFS/PM).

Rich: I wanted to add that one of the most thoughtful articles I've found on stair stringer design addresses the lack of specificity of stair stringer design in the model codes and provides some helpful engineering analysis and assumptions. See

Christopher R. Fournier, P.E., "Wood Framed Stair Stringer Design & Construction", Structure Magazine, March 2013, p. 45-46. Mr. Fournier is a structural engineer in North Conway NH. His article is available online, retrieved 4/19/14 original source: www.structuremag.org/Archives/2013-3/C-StrucDesign-Fournier-March13.pdf

See details at STAIR STRINGER DEFECTS

Question: rebuilding after an old homev burned down: meeting current stair codes

Anonymous said:

Hello,
My house burned down a few months ago and we are in the process of planning our rebuild (thank goodness for insurance). Our house was 102 years old, so one of the challenges in redesigning is accommodating code compliant stairs (we have some of the original 1912 blueprints and are trying to recreate as much as possible).

We thought we'd come up with a way to fit code compliant stairs in, but now our architect has expressed concern that our attic stair will not comply with code because, as drawn, it is accessed through the 2nd floor laundry room rather than a hall. But, I don't see anything in the code about this. The stair otherwise meets all requirements I can find (width, treads, risers, landings). Can anyone provide insight? Thanks very much.

Reply:

Anon,
I need to better understand the question. If the concern is the pathway to access an attic stair, I have not found a restriction that says which room must provide that entry point. The ICC Model Code section 1022 describes Interior Exit Stairways & Ramps. 1022.3 Termination.
Interior exit stairways and ramps shall terminate at an exit discharge or a public way.
Exception: Interior exit stairways and ramps shall be permitted to terminate at an exit passageway complying with Section 1023, provided the exit passageway terminates at an exit discharge or a public way.

But an attic stair, presuming that it is not accessing an occupied living space, is more likely to be able to be treated as having more limited constraints such as those required for access to mechanicals or storage.

Please ask your architect to be more specific, giving us the code violation that he is citing and I'll be very glad to research the topic further.

Daniel

Reader follow-up:

katie said:

Thank you so much for the quick and detailed response! The attic will be unfinished in the rebuild, but we have emphasized that we'd like to finish the attic in the future when funds allow and therefore requested a real stairway instead of a pull down and collar ties that will allow for minimum ceiling height requirements. This must be why architect is concerned (but I will verify with him). Our laundry room is on 2nd floor off the main hall that leads to stairs to first floor. Exit pathway or public way must mean that the laundry room cannot have a door that separates it from the hallway? In other words, perhaps if the laundry didn't have a door it would be considered an extension or branch of the main hall? Of course, a doorless laundry room would be problematic with my messy ways... :)

Reply:

Katie, For an attic that's to be an occupied space, you're looking at sleeping areas on the third floor of a home - which may not be permitted in your jurisdiction unless there is a second fire exit stairway.

Also for an occupied space the laundry room becomes a passageway as well.

Don't take code citations literally without determining the class of occupancy of the building, as you'll see that different restrictions apply. I'm doubtful that a door will be an issue. Unobstructed passage width might be.

It would make sense to take the question to your building department.

Reader follow-up:

katie said:

thanks again very much, i will take your advice and ask the building department ;)

Question: my father in law tripped on stairs - why do stair treads have to hae a stair nosing?

5/22/2014 Ian McIlvaine said:

My father-in-law has tripped several times on his stairs and blamed the protruding nosing. He asked me why stairs have nosings and I had to confess that I didn't really know. I did some research on tripping and protruding nosings and found that the Australian code does not allow open risers or protruding lips/nosings on stair treads precisely because they are a trip hazard for the disabled. It is interesting, then, that this article mentions that a stair MUST have a protruding nosing of min. 3/4" to max. 1-1/2". Can anyone explain why this is so when such a lip can so easily catch a toe of someone climbing a stair?

Reply:

Ian you raise an interesting and important question. In part the differences in opinion on stair tread design, not just nosing but riser height, stem from differences in how different people climb and descend stairs. Some have argued that as well as differences ascribed to age, physical size and strength, we even step differently ascending than descending stairs.

Keep in mind that for an elderly or disabled person, living in a home with no stairs at all and with careful attention to remove trip hazards such as thresholds, wires, loose rugs, are all important changes.

To have sufficient space to cite research and to continue this discussion I'm moving your question and my reply to

STAIR TREAD NOSE SPECIFICATIONS

Please take a look and comment or ask further as it suits.

Thanks

Daniel

Question: Australian stair codes vs requirement for stair tread nosing

(May 22, 2014) Ian McIlvaine said:
My father-in-law has tripped several times on his stairs and blamed the protruding nosing. He asked me why stairs have nosings and I had to confess that I didn't really know. I did some research on tripping and protruding nosings and found that the Australian code does not allow open risers or protruding lips/nosings on stair treads precisely because they are a trip hazard for the disabled. It is interesting, then, that this article mentions that a stair MUST have a protruding nosing of min. 3/4" to max. 1-1/2". Can anyone explain why this is so when such a lip can so easily catch a toe of someone climbing a stair?

Reply:

Ian you raise an interesting and important question.

In part the differences in opinion on stair tread design, not just nosing but riser height, stem from differences in how different people climb and descend stairs.

I agree that not all model stair codes necessarily specify the use of a tread nose, and I've found and cited research arguing both sides of the issue.

Some have argued that as well as differences ascribed to age, physical size and strength, we even step differently ascending than descending stairs.

Keep in mind that for an elderly or disabled person, living in a home with no stairs at all and with careful attention to remove trip hazards such as thresholds, wires, loose rugs, are all important changes.

To have sufficient space to cite research and to continue this discussion I'm moving your question and my reply to

STAIR TREAD NOSE SPECIFICATIONS

Please take a look and comment or ask further as it suits.

Question: trip hazards of storage drawers built into stairs: OK to store stuff in or under stairs?

(June 12, 2014) Kirby Gehman said:
Is there any word in the code about the current trend on sites like Pinterest that show stairs with drawers built into the riser to make use of space under the stairs for storage. They strike me as incredibly dangerous if a drawer is left even a little bit open. Are there specifics you can point me to in the code about this?

Thanks,
Kirby

Reply:

Kirby, there are building codes specifying the required clearance under stairways and in public area a requirement for sensible guards to protect people who are visually impaired (see the American ADA).

I have not found an explicit code addressing the presence of a drawer built into a stairway riser but I agree that even if a stair otherwise meets riser and tread dimension guidelines, bulit-in statir-storage designs can produce a very serious trip and fall hazard from

Use our email at the page bottom CONTACT link to send me photos of the stairs you describe and we will research the question further.

Question: how far outboard of the treads can the handrail be placed?

(May 2, 2015) PaulG said:
From pjg9597@msn.com - On a stairway with a wall on one side and a handrail on the other (overlooking an open hallway), I need to know how far outboard of the treads the handrail can be placed. We're trying to have a chairlift installed for my disabled wife but have bee told that the stairway clearance when the lift is installed is too narrow. To get the need clearance, we want to move the handrail outboard.

Reply:

Paul,

I agree that installing a chair lift will narrow the remaining stairway width but I'd expect the local building inspector to make an exception and approve the installation unless the stair were flat impassible.

If you mean pushing the stairway handrailing and guardrail on the open side out past the outermost edge of the stair treads I have never seen that specified. My *opinion* is that if a guardrail and thus handrail as well were moved laterally to one side past the edge of the stair tread you would create a trip hazard if a foot can enter the space between the edge of the stair tread and the bottom of the guardrailing. Therefore you could probably push the handrailing out as far as you want (and as far as the space allows) if simultaneously you increase the width of the tread to close what would otherwise be an open space.

Bottom line, I would not make any change at all before asking what your local building code inspector will approve.

Let me know what you are told and we'll take it from there. Also use my email at our CONTACT link at page bottom to send photos of the stairway - that may permit further comment.

Also see our discussion of chair lifts along stairs at inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Stair_Lifts.php

Question: required distance between bottom rail of stair railing and the stair tread

(May 2, 2015) Patty G said:
We are installing a double stair railing, where the spindles are in the bottom rail, not the stair trend. What is the required distance between the bottom rail and the stair trend? Thank you in advance.

Reply:

Patty

In the stair code articles listed in the article above see BALUSTERS for Guards & Railings for details about the spacing requirements between and below balusters - do ask away if after seeing that questions remain.

Question: handdrail question at brick steps

(May 23, 2015) Rick H. said:
Hello, I have an exterior set of brick stairs. There are 6 individual steps in the stairs. When climbing the stairs, the door handle will be on your right side (as you ascend).

There is currently no hand rail installed on either side of the stairs. My questions are as follows:

1. Is a hand rail required for this installation? I live in Georgia, and I see MANY homes in my area with no hand rails.

2. If a hand rail is required, is it required on one side of the stairs, or on both sides of the stairs?

3. If a hand rail is required, would the hand rail also require a lower rail, and balusters, to prevent someone from fitting between the hand rail vertical supports?

Thanks,

Rick

Reply:

Yes on both sides if both sides are open unless the 6 steps have a total rise less than that specified in the Georgia code (typically 3 ft).

Question: rails on rooftop deck in Texas

(June 17, 2015) Anonymous said:
I am building an outdoor dock with upper deck for roof. I am in Texas, not inside any city limits, will not have to deal with an inspector. I am having issues with my HOA Architectural Committe. I want to install cable rail for less obstruction of view from yard. ACC says concerned about safety (want me to use 2x2 wooden pickets). (1) Is there any reason for such concern (what can I use to disprove) ? (2) Are there any codes that speak of horizontal spacing instead of vertical ballusters? I see plans with them and pictures of commercial buildings but have not found any code reference to horizontal guard rail members.

Reply:

Anon:

I agree with your HOA that horizontal railings of any kind, and more-so cable railings, are less child-safe than vertical balusters, though a specification of 2x2 inch balusters seems unnecessary to me; more important is the free opening space between them. In the ARTICLE INDEX above you'll find details about balusters as well as railings and an article dedicated to cable railings.

Question: minimum height of top rail of stairway

(Sept 15, 2015) Anonymous said:
minimum height of top rail of stairway

Reply:

HANDRAIL CODES & OSHA HAND RAIL SPECS

Question: handrails for temporary / portable stairs to a stage

(Sept 22, 2015) Anonymous said:
I'm in California and I was wondering if the handrails for a temporary/portable stair to be used to access a 2'-0" high stage would have to follow the requirements of the CBC (per 1133B.4 and 1012.5), i.e. 12" extension at the top of the stair and tread width + 12" extension at the bottom of the stair?

Reply:

Great question, I don't know. Considering the risks I would certainly put strong handrails in place. It costs almost nothing.

Anon: re California temporary stairs:

I don't know and haven't seen an explicit code citation on handrail extensions on temporary stairs. YOu could look to OSHA's guidelines for temporary stairs in the workplace for some good suggestions. I suspect that what your building department will want depends on who is using the stairs. Public vs. private/maintenance, and accessibility requirements for the handicapped.

Question: number of attachment points for railings different for a timeshare condo?

(Sept 23, 2015) Dan said:
What is code for the number of attachment points for an interior stairway railing within vacation apartments? This is for a timeshare resort. Railing will be about 10 feet.
Thanks

Reply:

Dan

I cannot imagine any reason (nor code provision) that would reduce the security of a handrailing or guardrailing because an apartment is time-share rather than single owner occupied.

(Sept 25, 2015) Dan said:
I only mentioned the specific application of vacation apartment if there should be a difference from a private house for some reason.
My question remains: is there code provision for # of attachment points for an interior residential stairway railing about 10' long?
The stairway is fully enclosed.
Thanks

Mod replies:

The answer doesn't change. The codes don't specify the number or spacing of attachment points but rather focus on performance; the rail has to be able to withstand the specified loads.

Question: can the handrail alternate sides and still meet code?

(Oct 8, 2015) AY82 said:
If I have standard sized, indoor stairs, can the handrail alternate sides and still meet code? The stairs have a wall on either side until the last 4 stairs, which are open on the left side. My intention is to have a handrail extend down the left side, and then when the stairs open up, have the handrail then pick up on the right side. Additionally, is it acceptable to have the last 4 stairs open on the left without any railing or balusters that would close it in?

Reply:

Perhaps your local inspector will approve this rail design, though in my OPINION it could be awkward for some stair users.

Question: My home owners insurance is requiring me to build a deck and stairs, or they will not continue to insure me

(Oct 22, 2015) Meghan said:
I recently bought a fixer upper in WI. The garage has a second floor that was used to raise carrier pigeons back in the 50s and 60s. There are two doors, one at either end. The front door has stairs and a deck, however the back door does not. My home owners insurance is requiring me to build a deck and stairs, or they will not continue to insure me. The issue is that the door overlooks the alley. The garage itself is only about 3 feet from the paved alley. I've been looking but can't find a code that states how far from the alley a deck must be. If I build something that is to code, the garbage trucks will hit it! Any assistance would be appreciated. Thank you!

Reply:

You raise the right questions but I'd expect better luck checking with your building department on clearance requirements for where you live.

I'd also want the building checked for biological / pathogenic hazards considering its use to raise pigeons.

(Oct 22, 2015) Meghan said:
I'lol be sure to do both. Thank you

Question: . Is it ok to leave the last 4 steps open while the rest of the stairs are enclosed by a wall and handrail?

(Dec 15, 2015) Foran said:
AY82: 4 open steps.

I have the same issue. I just bought a condo in NY and as I was replacing the carpet I removed the old metal handrail that enclosed the bottom 4 stairs. It looks great without it on there but I'm not sure if that's a legal move. Is it ok to leave the last 4 steps open while the rest of the stairs are enclosed by a wall and handrail?

Reply:

No it's not OK. Let me elaborate in two ways.

1. A user may not need handrails along stairs until she is slipping, tripping, falling. Then it's not ok as she cannot have an opportunity to arrest the fall or even to reduce its severity by grasping a handrailing.

2. It is not likely to be considered code compliant by your local building inspector.

Question: requirement for the number of nails in the top riser which is attached to the header

(Jan 8, 2016) tmauti@gnmlawyer.com said:
I want to find out if there is a requirement for the number of nails in the top riser which is attached to the header in a suspended residential basement staircase.

Is there a code requirement for the number of nails required in the top riser? and code requirement for the top two studs being naild to the stringer?

Reply:

TMauti

As you are pursuing a legal matter you are welcome to contact us do discuss consulting by email - using the page bottom CONTACT link. Your question - at least how it's phrased, is in danger of obtaining a too-narrow and basically indefensible answer.

There are indeed nailing schedules specifying nail size and number, but the type of fastener used could change that detail.

Question: ok to run a gutter along stairs?

Feb 12, 2016) roman said:
is there a restriction on running a gutter on side of a stairs?

Reply:

Roman I don't understand the question. If by gutter you mean roof drainage or even a surface water drain, those topics don't address stair construction.

If you mean water may flow down the stairs themselves in some conditions, that doesn't sound smart.

Question: bullnose that is above flush at the leading edge of the stair tread

(Feb 24, 2016) Bob said:
Can a stair tread in a residence have a bullnose that is above flush at the leading edge of the stair tread

Reply:

Bob I don't understand the question, perhaps you can send me a photo or sketch using our email found at the CONTACT link below.

It seems to me that a stair tread nose would not normally protrude above the horizontal walking surface of the tread, though I've indeed seen some add-on anti-slip stair tread products whose nosing may be slightly elevated with an anti-slip material.

Normally the stair tread is expected to project beyond the face of the riser below.

Question: how to add a handrail along a 13-step stair

(Mar 2, 2016) Danna said:
Hi, we refinished(painted) stairs in a house we bought in Amherst NY. there is 13 stairs, there was small handrail on one side of stairs which was basically two flimsy pieces of wood and another across that was supposed to be handrail.

Now we want to put handrail, and need to know if there are some guidelines to follow: height of handrail, space between nawel posts. We want to do stainless steel cable,and what is the max spacing between cables.I have seen online cable systems with 3in spacing, and I dont like it,I would put no more than 4 cables on each side. Is there required space between posts? I don't know where to look! We are doing it ourselves, as we are on tight budget. Thank you! Danna

Reply:

Sure Danna

At the More Reading section just above see the ARTICLE INDEX and you'll see several articles on handrailing height, spacing, strength requirements &c. Take a look and don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions.

Be sure to see these two articles in particular

inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Handrails.php

inspectapedia.com/Stairs/Railing_Codes_Specifications.php

Question: Does my unfinished third floor/attic have to have a handrail installed?

2016/04/22 TAMMI FARNSWORTH said:
Does my unfinished third floor/attic have to have a handrail installed?

Reply:

OPINION:

Tammi

"Have to" is under the legal authority of your local building code inspector whose word is law.

But in general, a space in a home that is not intended for normal human habitation (sleeping, reading, etc.) may not be required to have handrails, though a code inspector might have a different view depending on the nature of the space.

I suggest that a handrailing is a good idea on ANY stairway as it can significantly reduce the chances of a fall & injury, and as the cost is close to trivial for the handrail and mounting brackets.

A pre-shaped and attractive oak (fancier than you need) 8-foot handrail section is less than $70. at a typical building supplier. A 16 ft. handrail is less than $150. It is also possible to fabricate an acceptable handrail out of other materials that may be cheaper.

Handrail brackets to attach a wood hand rail to the wall (mount at wall studs with screws of adequate size & length) are about $3.00 each.

...


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Or see BUILDING CODES for STAIRS

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Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman